Breeders are urged to consider vaccinating their stock against Bluetongue as the threat of an outbreak in the UK grows ever higher.
The re-emergence of the disease in France last autumn and its continued spread throughout the country during the winter and this spring mean that the Animal and Plant Health Agency has declared there to be a high probability (80%) of the virus reaching the UK this summer.
And, while vaccine stocks are likely to be limited initially, there will be availability later this year in the UK to enable farmers to protect their stock.
Both MSD Animal Health and Zoetis expect to have vaccines available in the UK from mid-July onwards and farmers are being advised to contact their vet to discuss their requirements as soon as possible.
Discussions between the respective companies and UK industry bodies and vets are underway to agree the most effective roll out of the vaccine to help protect cattle and sheep in the most vulnerable parts of the country.
While those in the south and east of the country will be more highly prioritised protecting stock no matter their location is advisable due to the virus’ vector route of transmission. Midges carrying the virus can travel significant distances, particularly when aided by the wind and anyone with high value stock should strongly consider vaccinating to reduce the disease risk to their stock.
Those wanting to learn more about the disease and the vaccination options can attend one of the Joint Action Against Bluetongue meetings. Full meeting details can be found here